De­vel­op­ers lobby for KL-S’pore high-speed rail sta­tion in For­est City

The Straits Times - - TOPOF THE NEWS - Shan­non Teoh Malaysia Bu­reau Chief In Kuala Lumpur

De­vel­op­ers of For­est City in Jo­hor have lob­bied the Malaysian gov­ern­ment to place a high-speed rail (HSR) sta­tion in the mega prop­erty project just west of the Sec­ond Link cross­ing be­tween Sin­ga­pore and Malaysia, The Straits Times has learnt.

Sources said Coun­try Gar­den – a top Chi­nese de­vel­oper that is build­ing For­est City in a joint ven­ture with the state gov­ern­ment and Sul­tan of Jo­hor – is “nat­u­rally hop­ing the HSR will stop there” to boost the de­vel­op­ment, which has a pro­jected value of RM450 bil­lion (S$144 bil­lion). The planned 350km HSR link­ing Kuala Lumpur and Sin­ga­pore is ex­pected to be­gin run­ning by the end of 2026.

If Coun­try Gar­den’s pro­posal is adopted, it will likely take the form of a spur line – or a short branch line – on the tran­sit ser­vice in Malaysia, leav­ing the Sin­ga­pore-Kuala Lumpur ex­press route un­af­fected.

“If the HSR stops at For­est City, the dis­tance will be too short to con­tinue to Sin­ga­pore,” a source told The Straits Times, ex­plain­ing why a spur line is more fea­si­ble. The dis­tance be­tween the near­est point from For­est City to the mar­itime bor­der with Sin­ga­pore is just 1.1km.

Any pro­posal re­gard­ing the HSR must be agreed on bi­lat­er­ally be­tween Malaysia and Sin­ga­pore, al- though the ad­di­tional cost to ex­tend a spur line to For­est City could be borne by Malaysia alone.

A spokesman for Sin­ga­pore’s Min­istry of Trans­port told The Straits Times: “We have not re­ceived a re­quest by the Malaysian gov­ern­ment to re­vise the align­ment of the HSR.”

There are also plans for ferry, road and rail links from For­est City to main­land Jo­hor and Sin­ga­pore, but there has been no con­fir­ma­tion that the Repub­lic has agreed to them.

The land recla­ma­tion project of For­est City – com­pris­ing four man­made is­lands in the Strait of Jo­hor cov­er­ing 1,386ha, nearly thrice the size of Sen­tosa Is­land – is set to be com­pleted over 20 years and cost RM175 bil­lion.

Sin­ga­pore and Malaysia signed a bi­lat­eral agree­ment on Dec 13 last year to em­bark on the HSR project. The bul­let trains – which will cut travel time be­tween Kuala Lumpur and Sin­ga­pore to 90 min­utes – are ex­pected to be­gin run­ning by Dec 31, 2026.

The ex­ist­ing track align­ment will run from Ban­dar Malaysia, just south of Kuala Lumpur, pass­ing six tran­sit stops up to Iskan­dar Pu­teri in Jo­hor, be­fore ter­mi­nat­ing in Jurong, Sin­ga­pore.

Malaysia’s Land Pub­lic Trans­port Com­mis­sion and Coun­try Gar­den Paci­ficview – the joint-ven­ture com­pany de­vel­op­ing For­est City – did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

Coun­try Gar­den owns 60 per cent of For­est City. Its Jo­hor part­ner is Es­planade Danga 88, which has Jo­hor Sul­tan Ibrahim Sul­tan Iskan­dar as its largest share­holder.

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